dcsimg

Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping Degree Programs

Bookkeeping degrees give students the opportunity to learn how to manage financial records, organize files and work with accounting software. Individuals wishing to gain entry-level employment in the field can choose to work toward a variety of credentials, including bookkeeping diploma, bookkeeping certificate, accounting and payroll administrator certificate, and certificate in computerized bookkeeping. Colleges offer a variety of programs to meet the needs of students, including on-campus and online programs. Some programs may offer a part-time or self-paced option as well as flexible start dates or open enrollment.

Whether students choose online bookkeeping programs, or an on-campus option, they can expect to be immersed in the fundamentals of financial recordkeeping. Students are introduced to financial statement preparation, double entry bookkeeping, and accounting terminology, as well as the principles of inventory management and payroll. In addition, students in bookkeeping programs often learn to master software such as Intuit QuickBooks or Microsoft Excel. Other common topics include journals and ledgers, depreciation and taxes.

Admissions requirements vary depending on the bookkeeping program chosen and some may require that students have a high school diploma or GED. To learn more about individual bookkeeping programs, browse through the list of schools at the end of the page.

Bookkeeping Careers

On-campus or online bookkeeping degrees could help prepare students for positions such as bookkeeper, bookkeeping clerk, accounting clerk or auditing clerk. These professionals use accounting software, spreadsheets and databases in order to accurately track and monitor an organization's financial transactions, as described by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They also produce reports, check figures, and reconcile any discrepancies they encounter in company financial records. Since general bookkeeping practices are a part of nearly every industry, bookkeeping graduates may find work in a variety of different fields, including government, health care, small business and even nonprofits.

Bookkeeping programs may also help students develop the knowledge and skills required for professional bookkeeping certification. Bookkeeping certification agencies include the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, which offers the Certified Bookkeeper title, and The National Bookkeepers Association, which offers six separate certifications. Certified Bookkeeper candidates must have two years of work experience before they're eligible to pursue the certification. While not mandatory, gaining professional certification may help job candidates stand out among their peers.

Job Outlook and Salary in Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks collectively earned a mean national annual wage of $36,640 in May 2012 according to BLS data. Employment for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks is expected to increase 14 percent nationally from 2010 to 2020, the BLS reports, which is about average. According to the BLS, job growth in this field is mainly driven by general economic growth. Therefore, an increase in the number of businesses and organizations generally leads to an increase in job opportunities for those in bookkeeping. Due to the recent financial crisis, businesses may also being to lean toward stricter bookkeeping and accounting standards which may lead to additional job growth in this field.

The following industries paid bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks the highest annual mean wages in May 2012:

Industry

Mean Annual Wage

(United States May 2012)

Employment

(United States, May 2012)

Postal Service

$59,150

460

Motion Picture and Video Industries

$46,840

4,160

Rail Transportation

$45,720

820

Securities and Commodity Contracts Intermediation and Brokerage

$45,360

5,910

Metal Ore Mining

$44,990

100

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, 2013

Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks in these states earned the highest annual mean wages in May 2012:

State

Mean Annual Wage

(United States May 2012)

Employment

(United States, May 2012)

District of Columbia

$51,440

4,080

Connecticut

$42,190

20,200

Alaska

$42,150

4,340

Massachusetts

$41,630

38,940

California

$41,420

169,850

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, 2013

* Salaries and employment opportunities may vary based on experience, education, location and other factors.

Sources:

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/bookkeeping-accounting-and-auditing-clerks.htm

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks, May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes433031.htm